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Green chalcedony cylinder seal

 

Height: 3.900 cm
Diameter: 1.300 cm

ME 120949

Room 55: Mesopotamia

    Green chalcedony cylinder seal

    From Mesopotamia
    Middle Assyrian / Kassite Period, about 1400-1200 BC

    Inscribed with the command of a Kassite god

    With the collapse of the dynasty of Hammurapi (around 1595 BC) the control of southern Mesopotamia passed into the hands of the Kassites. This seal dates to the time when this line of Kassite kings governed Babylonia. Mystery still surrounds the origins of the Kassites. They may have come from the mountains on the borders with Iran or from the Middle Euphrates. Their names, and those of their gods, bear witness to their foreign origins but they assimilated the language and culture of Babylonia, restored the temples and provided stable rule for almost 500 years until their dynasty was brought to an end in 1155 BC.

    The cuneiform inscription on this seal reads:

    'At the command of the god Shuqamuna, may its [that is, the seal's] owner be established and have abundant life'

    Kassite gods are often only known as part of personal names but Shuqamuna was equated with the Mesopotamian gods Nergal (god of the underworld) and Nusku (god of fire) and his symbol appears on kuddurus (boundary stones) as a bird-standard.

    D. Collon, First impressions: cylinder se (London, The British Museum Press, 1987)

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    On display: Room 55: Mesopotamia

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    Illustrated introduction to Mesopotamia, £8.99

    Illustrated introduction to Mesopotamia, £8.99